Podcast: How war changed everything on American supermarket shelves

October 1, 2015
Participants: Jason Fields, Matthew Gault, Anastacia Marx de Salcedo

A military can only project power as far as it can ship food to feed its hungry soldiers. The need for armies, both ancient and modern, to travel long distances to thwart enemies and take territory has made militaries one of the driving factors behind food science.

No one knows this better than author Anastacia Marx de Salcedo. Her new book, Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the U.S. Military Shapes the Way You Eat details the myriad ways the military-industrial complex has shaped people’s diets.

“I can literally go through the grocery store and I think remove 50 percent of its contents, if I take anything that has a military origin or influence,” she told us. She’s right. Granola bars, saran wrap, Cheetos and even McDonald’s famous McRib wouldn’t be possible without military technology.

In this week’s War College, Marx de Salcedo walks us through how militaries have shaped the way citizens eat, from ancient history to the modern world.

Click here to buy a copy of Combat-Ready Kitchen.

Subscribe to the War College podcast on iTunes

Listen on SoundCloud

A brief history of the C ration

How the U.S. military helped invent Cheetos

The American food falling from the sky over Iraq is a special menu

4 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

bowel cancer….courtesy of the U.S. Army

Posted by Jingan | Report as abusive

Walking mummies.

Posted by Macedonian | Report as abusive

This goes far beyond food as well. Medical science, transportation, computer technology, engineering and more.

If people didn’t go to war, we’d probably still be in the stone age.

Posted by amd65 | Report as abusive

The military is thus responsible for the American diet of over-processed fattening garbage. Granola bars included. They are designed to keep one alive and with energy for the fight, not for a healthy existence.

Posted by ArghONaught | Report as abusive